Finding Home: Immigrants Here Illegally Face Their Own Eviction Struggles

David Boraks
July 28, 2020

Thousands of North Carolina residents are in danger of losing their homes as courts begin issuing eviction orders again this month. The threat is amplified for immigrants here illegally, whose status disqualifies them from government programs that could help pay the rent.

Isamar lives in Charlotte with her husband and two children. We’re not using her full name because she is not here legally.  After the coronavirus pandemic struck, both parents got laid off – she as a hotel housekeeper and he in construction.

“Because of the virus we lost our jobs and that put us behind on rent. And now it’s worse because my husband had an accident and our court date is tomorrow so we don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said.

They’re due at Mecklenburg District Court Tuesday morning, where they worry a judge will order them to be evicted.  They tried mediation with their corporate landlord, and had an offer of $4,300 in emergency rental aid from Crisis Assistance Ministry, said Juan Hernandez, Isamar’s lawyer from Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

“The mediator had Crisis (Assistance) on the phone, and they were working to reach a fast settlement.  But the landlord did not accept the terms,” Hernandez said.

The $4,300 was about $1,000 short of what they owe, said Hernandez, who did not identify the company.

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This story was produced by the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, a partnership of six media companies working together in an effort started by the Solutions Journalism Network and funded by The Knight Foundation.

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